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Talk of the Games

The medal standings tell only part of the sports story of what's happening at the Games. For the rest, check out the latest dispatches from The Seattle Times' sports crew of columnists, reporters and producers.

February 16, 2010 at 4:30 PM

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Women's snowboard cross: American Lindsey Jacobellis flops in redemption attempt

Posted by Jerry Brewer

OK, now you have to wonder what the Olympics have against Lindsey Jacobellis.

The snowboarder was looking to redeem herself Tuesday after missing out on a snowboard-cross gold medal four years ago because of a showboating finish. This time, however, she didn't even make it to the finals.

In one of the biggest shocks for the United States thus far, Jacobellis lost her balance after a jump in a semifinal heat, stumbled and tried to balance herself, but she fell off the course and hit a gate. It meant she was disqualified.

She put her hands on her helmet, shocked, dismayed, angry. Just like that, her gold pursuit was over.

Canada's Maelle Ricker won the gold medal with ease, giving her country its second triumph of the Vancouver Games. France's Deborah Anthonioz took the silver, and Switzerland's Olivia Nobs won the bronze.

"Thank you so much, Canada!" Ricker said. "We're having a lot of fun and absolutely enjoying every minute. I hope you are, too."

Jacobellis rebounded to win the small final, or consolation, and officially finished in fifth place.

But, for her, it might as well have been last place.

After the event, she rushed past reporters in the media mixed zone and ignored interview requests. She has since decided to meet with reporters at about 4:50 p.m., which will be more than 90 minutes after the event ended.

Earlier in the day, after her qualification runs, Jacobellis expressed concern about the course. It rained on Cypress Mountain again Tuesday, and fog delayed the event for two hours.

"It's really bumpy on the turns," Jacobellis said. "It's like mashed potatoes."

Jacobellis entered the Winter Olympics with as much pressure as any athlete because she'd spent the past four years trying to explain why she lost the gold in Turin, Italy. She slipped to the silver in 2006 because she fell while trying to attempt a hot-dog move late during a race in which she had a huge lead. As a result, Jacobellis became the poster child for critics of snowboard cross who claim the sport cares more about style, even at the risk of losing.

This time, she succumbed to the nature of her sport. Even the best snowboard-cross athletes aren't immune to flubs. Thing is, Jacobellis keeps learning that lesson at the most inopportune times.

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